Marlink supports PONANT’s premiere voyage to the geographic North Pole

by 16, Nov, 2021Innovation, Maritime 4.00 comments

When the innovative cruise operator announced plans for its polar exploration vessel, it turned to the leading provider of smart hybrid network

Maritime destinations don’t come much more remote than the geographic North Pole but for innovative cruise operator like PONANT there are no barriers that can’t be broken, with Marlink as a partner.

When PONANT announced the construction of Le Commandant Charcot, the expedition cruise operator founded by former French merchant naval officers turned to Marlink to provide its expertise in smart hybrid network solutions. The ship’s voyages to the geographic North Pole would pose unique challenges and require a network solution that could support Le Commandant Charcot’s onboard needs for data and voice connectivity.

The challenge PONANT posed to Marlink was simple: to create a communications solution without compromise and worthy of the greatest polar explorers and tailored for those who follow their footsteps.

Le Commandant Charcot became the first vessel of her kind to reach the geographic North Pole on September 6, 2021, during sea trials in preparation for her inaugural season to the Antarctic this winter and to the Arctic next summer.

Marlink provided a unique and industry-first hybrid network solution, combining Sealink dual C- and Ku-band VSAT connectivity, GEO and LEO L-band services and a high-data volume LEO Ku-band store & forward capability.

Core to the deployment was the Marlink Smart Edge integrated service delivery platform which orchestrates and optimises all network elements and applications, from data handling to software defined routeing (SD-WAN) for an optimized and unparalleled guest experience.

Marlink’s LTE/GSM service completes the hybrid network solution and enables PONANT to provide aggregated delivery of hundreds of gigabytes of data per month, offering a record amount of data to connectivity-hungry guests.

The ship’s itinerary meant that Marlink would need to create a network optimised to perform above 80 degrees latitude. While the current C- and Ku-band GEO VSAT can’t provide coverage to that point, Marlink provided a combination of aggregated LEO services with a highspeed ‘store and forward’ LEO service for the very highest latitudes.

By combining dedicated GEO and LEO constellations with its managed services expertise, terrestrial connectivity and global network know-how, Marlink is able to provide the best possible services and make the maximum effort to keep PONANT’s promises to its guests, crew and ship management.